September 8, 2014

Synaxis of Panagia Skiadeni in Rhodes

Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos who is called "Skiadeni", 
Which is Celebrated on the 8th of September.


Your Icon produces grace,
Overshadowing the souls of those who sing to you, Daughter.

The honorable Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos who is called "Skiadeni" ("Place of Shadow") was revealed in a wondrous manner to three virtuous monks who were living in asceticism in the cave "Askitargo". For many nights they would see shining brightly a heavenly light in the place where today is found the sacred and revered Monastery of Skiados. Curious about this paradoxical spectacle they went there and, O the wonder!, they found hidden in the bushes the Icon of the Mother of God. Having thanked the Virgin for her good pleasure, they venerated with reverence her sacred Icon and transferred it with hymns and doxologies to their cave. The next day however the Icon was not in the place where they left it. They went back to the place they uncovered it and surprisingly they found that the Icon had returned. For a second time they took it with them but once again it returned to the same place. They then understood that the Theotokos had chosen that place and did not want her Icon removed from there. This is why they built a sacred church there, where they placed it, and around it a Monastery with cells, and this is where they settled and continued their ascetic disposition under the covering and maternal protection of the Mother of the Lord.

Infinite are the wonders which have been done until today by the grace of the Most Holy Theotokos that resides in this Icon. Once pirates came and plundered the Monastery, and as they departed they took with them the Icon. However, their ship could not sail so they rushed to return the Icon to its place. This event has survived in local tradition as the legend of "Petrokaravou". Another time, an Ottoman entered the Katholikon of the Monastery with the purpose of defiling the Icon, and he stabbed the sacred Icon with a knife. From the wound formed on the face of the Most Holy Theotokos blood began to flow, as if from a living body, and his hand became paralyzed. Terrified he then asked from the Most Holy Theotokos to forgive him and out of gratitude he donated to the Monastery many gifts and estates.

Local residents as well as all of Rhodes, such as the residents of Halki, show great respect and reverence to the honorable Icon of the Mother of God "Our Lady Skiadeni". From the Fourth Week of Great Lent until the Sunday of Antipascha the Icon is processed, beginning from Halki and then continuing to all the villages of southern Rhodes. All the pious throughout the year ask that the icon be transferred and remain in their home for its sanctification.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.